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5 Reasons Photo School Rocked

Published January 6th, 2012

Recently, Chase Jarvis shared a post on his blog called, ‘Should You Go To Photo School’ which I reposted here. It was an extremely simple post but I really agreed with what he wrote. Basically Chase said, if you’re into structured, slower learning, go to photo school. If you’re into hands on and/or faster paced learning, don’t! And, he joked that if the post was too simple for you, you should probably go to photo school.

Now to be honest, I went to photo school and for the most part, I really enjoyed it! In fact, there are days that I miss it. So keeping in mind that I agree 100% with what Chase said, here’s 5 reasons why photo school rocked. (Or, 5 reasons I decided to go to photo school) Another title could be, if your photo school doesn’t have these 5 things, don’t go!

* I Was Challenged - The school I went to in Tampa boasted about it’s small class sizes which was really attractive to me. And, it paid off. Classes had their usual goals and projects which were assigned. But my photo school rocked because the professors learned me and my photography specifically. I could bring in work which easily met the requirements of the project but still would have the professors on my case if they felt I had not pushed myself. They’d call me out if I could have done better even if I had met every stipulation required for an A. This is accountability at it’s finest and photo school rocked because of it.

* I Was Free - My school did a phenomenal job of allowing it’s students to shoot whatever genre they’d prefer for the specific assignment at hand (for the most part). It pushed me to think creatively about how to inject myself and my style of photography into the current brief. Letting students think more freely about how to answer the brief is a great way to solidify their individual style. And I feel like mine was.

* I was Schooled - Obviously, photography was the most important thing, but there were several classes or times where we talked about some side stuff that was really beneficial to learn or know. For instance, we had a whole class on the business of photography which emphasized how to strategically create and present a business plan. There were also several really important sessions that talked about things like delivery or payment terms, client management/relationships, the legal side of photography etc. These are things which can be learned outside of photoschool but it usually takes much longer and doesn’t go nearly as smoothly. :-)

* I Competed - Probably one of my favorite things about photography school is the way that other students pushed me to be better. In an environment where the majority of the students around you are striving to create their best work, you are more likely to be striving to create yours. One side benefit of this is that beneficial techniques can be learned from completely opposing genres of photography. There were lighting or post production techniques I learned from people working on portraiture that I continue to use today with my glass and or/sports photography. It’s an iron sharpens iron kind of thing.

* I Learned Networking - I think networking is one of the most important things that a photographer can learn and, a photography school is a great place to learn it. Through group assignments, shooting together or helping each other with homework, you can learn to identify each others strengths or areas of knowledge and work together to accomplish things. Networking is powerful and getting an arena to try it out in is great.

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